Each weekday on this blog you will find an episode of a western short story featuring Rance Dehner, a detective who operates in the old West. When the story concludes, it will be archived for those readers who prefer to read a story from start to finish.
Brooks crept along the back of the buildings in Hard Stone, Colorado. The hour
was late and the only sounds were barking dogs and revelers at the town’s two
stopped at the bank. The back door was unlocked as had been previously
arranged. Stepping inside, the gunman felt a strange nervousness. This job was
like no other he had ever pulled.
small storage area where Tully had entered, he continued through an open door
into the bank proper. The outlaw paused beside the teller’s cage, then made his
way toward a yellow light which stood on the desk of George Conklin. As he
entered Conklin’s office, Tully mused to himself that George Conklin did not look
like a typical banker. He was a stocky, muscular man somewhere in his thirties,
with leathery skin. His appearance fit well in a town populated by miners.
looked up from his desk. “Right on time, Mr. Brooks. Wish I could do business
with more men as conscientious as you.”
I understand, you and I will never do business again.”
smiled, pulled out a cigar, then returned it to his suit pocket, apparently
deciding this occasion did not merit a smoke. “That’s right, Mr. Brooks. After
tonight, you are never to return to Hard Stone. Understand?”
decided to let it pass. He pulled out a desk drawer and tossed a roll of bills
onto his desk, followed by a brown canvas sack. “Five hundred dollars, like I
Brooks picked up the money and counted it.
trust me, Mr. Brooks?”
laughed, but there was a nervous quiver in it. He grabbed a newspaper from the
top of his desk, crumpled it up and placed it in the canvas bag. “In case,
anyone sees you leave the bank.”
habit, Tully looked through the doorway of Conklin’s office, and gave the bank
a once over. His eyes went first to the safe, which, for once, held no
importance for him. He noticed that the window shades were pulled down. Did
Conklin do that all the time, or would it cause people to wonder? He let out an
impatient breath and took the bag. “Ready?”
nodded his head, opened the right hand drawer of his desk and took out a
pistol. “Start running.”
pulled his bandanna over his nose and fled from the bank. He ran around the
corner and mounted his strawberry roan as Conklin shouted, “The bank is being
galloped off as the banker fired at him. The shot came close. An angry Tully
Brooks considered returning fire and killing the snake, but that didn’t seem
right. This was, after all, easy money.